The 8 Best Hotels for Foodies in the USA

Traveling is about discovering new people, places, culture, and—of course—food, glorious food. From the saucy jambalaya of New Orleans to the super fresh seafood and produce of coastal California, the U.S. is chock full of cities that appeal to travelers’ foodie sensibilities. For the true foodie, though, where you check-in in a new city is just as important as which city you decide to check out. If you’re hankering for a gourmet experience without ever having to live the comfort of your hotel, check out these eight U.S. hotels that offer up some prime dining experiences:

8. The Dogfish Inn -Lewes, DE

Created by the folks behind the perennially tasty Dogfish Head beer, the Dogfish Inn in Lewes, Del., is a retro stylish roadside inn whose handsome rooms are stocked with locally sourced snacks and handy barware. Even the room décor has a beer-centric vibe; prints of Dogfish Head’s groovy beer labels hang in each room. Start your day at the Dogfish Inn with a steaming cup of locally roasted Dogfish Chicory Coffee, then check out the Dogfish Head production brewery, which is just a few-minutes drive away. Another fun outing? Grab a six pack of your favorite brew and head to the Delaware Bay and while away the day at the beach. For more heart-pumping activities, go explore the trails at nearby Cape Henlopen State Park or paddle down the Broadkill River (there’s a kayak launch super close the inn).

Photo by: Dogfish Inn
Photo by: Dogfish Inn

7. The Hotel Modern -New Orleans, LA

The Hotel Modern in New Orleans boasts eclectic décor in a hip neighborhood—and a margarita that’s been named one of Travel + Leisure’s “America’s Best.” The fun starts before you even unpack your bags at this hotel; as soon as you arrive, you’ll be offered complimentary drinks. Once you’re settled in to your bright and funky hotel room (think neon pink accent walls and punchy accessories), go check out the hotel’s lounge, the Bellocq. Here, hip bartenders serve up incredible custom-crafted cocktails—get there before 7 pm to take advantage of some awesome happy hour specials! Getting hungry? Head to the hotel’s in-house restaurant, Tivoli & Lee, where innovative chefs turn out modern takes on classic southern comfort foods. You might be tempted to spend all your waking and sleeping hours in this hotel, but make sure you take some time to explore the French Quarter right outside the hotel’s door—more delicious New Orleans specialties await you!

Photo by: The Hotel Modern
Photo by: The Hotel Modern

6. Blackberry Farm -Walland, TN

Pack your bags (and your gardening gloves) and head to Blackberry Farm in the Great Smokey Mountains for a luxurious foodie getaway. The intimate hotel is situated on over 9,000 breathtaking acres, which includes a working farm that produces heirloom tomatoes, honey, and even fresh cheese from Friesian sheep. Enjoy the results of Blackberry Farm’s bounty at the hotel’s restaurant, where chefs whip up cuisine that incorporates ingredients that were just harvested hours earlier. The food isn’t the only thing that shines here, either. Expert sommeliers can suggest the perfect bottle to accompany a guest’s meal from Blackberry Farm’s impressive wine cellar, and tours of the on-site brewery are another popular activity. Guests can also take part in culinary demonstrations, wine and whiskey tastings, or even a “Day in the Life of a Chef” experience, where guests can tag along with the farm’s expert culinary masters.

Photo by: Blackberry Farm
Photo by: Blackberry Farm

5. The NoMad Hotel -New York City, NY

You might think that in a culinary-rich destination like New York City, staying at a foodie-themed hotel isn’t necessary. And maybe it isn’t … but a few nights at The NoMad Hotel in NYC sure sounds like fun. Guests can nibble on innovative cuisine and cocktails inspired by the chef’s time spent in New York, California, and Switzerland while exploring the hotel’s expansive dining areas. Sip a gin and tonic on the roof top for incredible views of the Manhattan skyline, or stay cozy with your cocktail inside next to the incredible fireplace. Graze on finger foods in the library before heading to the sumptuous parlor or light-filled atrium for your main meal. End your evening of gustatory delights with a nightcap at one of the hotel’s two bars: the elegant, sumptuous Elephant Bar or the more relaxed and convivial NoMad Bar. With all the dining options at this hotel, you might never make it outside to explore the rest of the city!

Photo by: NY Times
Photo by: NY Times

4. Post Ranch Inn -Big Sur, CA

Discerning diners are often faced with a tough dilemma: do you dine at the restaurant with the great view, or the restaurant with the great food? Your dilemma is solved at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, California. The Inn’s restaurant, Sierra Mar, sits high above Big Sur’s famously dramatic cliffs, so guests can take in the amazing ocean views while dining on innovative cuisine that highlights coastal California’s fresh foodie vibe. For the ultimate foodie experience, opt for Sierra Mar’s “Taste of Big Sur” tasting menu—but only if you think you can make it through all nine courses. Luckily, the abundance of breathtaking hikes in the area will give you ample opportunities to work off your meal.

Photo by: SF Gate
Photo by: SF Gate

3. The Peninsula Chicago -Chicago, IL

Yes, this luxurious hotel is located in the Windy City, but you won’t find any of Chicago’s famous deep-dish pizza here. Instead, The Peninsula Chicago has three outstanding restaurants for you to choose from. Indulge in afternoon high tea in the Lobby, and be sure to check out the decadent Chocolate Bar that’s set up on Friday and Saturday evenings. Head upstairs to the Shanghai Terrace for crafty cocktails and yummy dim sum served alongside spectacular views of the Chicago skyline. Escape to the cobblestone streets of Europe (at least for an hour or two), at Pierrot Gourmet, a European-inspired bistro, sidewalk café, and wine bar. Sip on some after-dinner drinks at the hotel bar, where cocktails with fun names like “White Whiskey Fizz” and “Elderberry Smash” are sure to whet your whistle. Trust us, with all of these options, you won’t even miss the deep dish!

Photo by: The Peninsula Chicago
Photo by: The Peninsula Chicago

2. The Cosmopolitan -Las Vegas, NV

Skip the gambling and go for all things gourmet at this landmark Vegas hotel. When dining at The Cosmopolitan, you get to choose between not one, not two, not three, but 14 different restaurants! From scrumptious red velvet waffles for breakfast at the Overlook Grill to the sophisticated Italian dishes served up for dinner at Scarpetta, you’ll find something your taste buds will love at this hotel. Plus, this is a great option if you’re travelling with a bunch of your foodie friends; the Cosmopolitan makes it easy to reserve private dining rooms or tables for big groups (think 13 or more). Another plus? A good number of the hotel’s restaurants offer solid happy hour specials, so dining well doesn’t mean you’ll have to blow your entire paycheck.

Photo by: Al Powers
Photo by: Al Powers

1. The Willows Inn -Lummi Island, WA

At The Willows Inn on Lummi Island in Washington state, Chef Blaine Wetzel whips hyper local ingredients into provocative dishes during tasting menus that often last three hours. The guest experience at this inn revolves around the dinner table; inn guests get first dibs on hard-to-get dinner reservations, and the tasting menu starts promptly at 6:30 p.m. There’s plenty else to do in this picturesque part of the Pacific Northwest, including hiking, whale watching, island hopping, and more. Hardcore foodies may want to consider continuing their culinary adventures away from the table with a wild foraging tour via kayak.

Photo by: The Willows Inn
Photo by: The Willows Inn

10 Historic US Forts That Shaped American History

The U.S. has an impressive military history, something that becomes apparent when you look at how many forts and garrisons litter the American landscape. From the first landings of Europeans in what is now New England, to the Spanish colonists from coast to coast and the French imperialists to the north, the U.S. has had conflicts from the very beginning; many U.S. cities had their start as military outposts. If you want to better understand U.S. history—or experience “living” history—there’s no better way than paying a visit to at least 1 of these 10 historic forts.

10. Fort Vancouver -Washington

Unlike some of the other forts on this list, Fort Vancouver in Washington state was established with commerce, not defense, in mind. The outpost was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company along the Columbia River during the winter of 1824–25, near present-day Portland, Oregon. In 1846, the trading post was closed as unprofitable; 3 years later, the Americans established army barracks on the same site. In 1866, the fort was destroyed by fire, then rebuilt. It remained an active site during both World Wars, and remained active until a forced closure in 2011. It was already on the National Historic Register, and had been since 1961. Today, you can tour the fort and visit some of the restored buildings, such as the Bake House and Blacksmith Shop, where workers employ historically accurate techniques in their reenactments of life in the fort.

Fort Vancouver Washington

9. Fort Verde -Arizona

While forts are typically associated with the Eastern Seaboard and New England, as part of the legacy of British colonialism, there are forts that dot the U.S.’s western frontier as well, such as Fort Verde in Arizona. Today, the site is part of the Fort Verde State Historical Park in the town of Camp Verde. The park offers visitors a living history museum that attempts to preserve the site as it existed during the Apache Wars. In the late 19th century, settlers near the Verde River requested state protection from Native American tribes that were raiding their crops; a sudden increase in the settler population had disrupted the tribes’ traditional lifeways. Over approximately 20 years, the army built several camps and forts, until they were abandoned in 1891. Four of the 22 original buildings survived until 1956, when preservation activities began. The museum opened in 1970.

Photo by: Coldwell Banker
Photo by: Coldwell Banker

8. Fort Sumter -South Carolina

Fort Sumter is an interesting fortification along the Atlantic coast, located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina. The fort was originally constructed after the War of 1812 as part of an American effort to protect important harbors and ports. In order to build up the sand bar where the fort is built, 70,000 tons of granite was imported from New England, although the fort remained unfinished until the Civil War broke out. When South Carolina seceded, U.S. Army Major Robert Anderson relocated to Fort Sumter. Calls for surrender of the fort were ignored, leading to the First Battle of Fort Sumter, in which the Confederates took the fort. Union forces didn’t regain control until 1865. Today, the fort is part of the Fort Sumter National Monument and features a Visitor Education Center and a museum.

Fort Sumter

7. Fort Gaines -Alabama

This historic fort is located on Dauphin Island in Alabama. Established in 1821, the fort is perhaps best known for its role during the Civil War, particularly the Battle of Mobile Bay. It is considered to be one of the best-preserved examples of Civil War-era masonry and the site boasts many of its original structures, including tunnels, and battle-used cannons. Also on display at the museum is the anchor from the USS Hartford, the flagship of Admiral David Farragut—the ship upon which he uttered the now famous line, “Damn the torpedoes—full speed ahead!” Historical reenactment is also part of the fort’s effort to appeal to tourists. Despite this, it is listed as one of the U.S.’s most endangered historic places: the fort has suffered damage from hurricanes, and ongoing erosion of sand dunes place Fort Gaines in danger of sinking into the Gulf of Mexico.

Photo by: Civil War Talk
Photo by: Civil War Talk

6. Fort Ticonderoga -New York

Fort Ticonderoga is an 18th-century, star-shaped fort near the south shores of Lake Champlain in New York state. It was originally known as Fort Carillon and was constructed by the French-Canadians during the Seven Years’ War. In 1758, the Battle of Carillon saw the French repel the British; in 1759, the French abandoned the fort. The fort saw action again during the American Revolution in May 1775, when it was captured by the Americans during a surprise attack. It changed back to British hands in 1777, but they abandoned the fort the same year. In 1781, it was abandoned for good. During the 19th century, the fort became a popular site for tourists, and private owners took steps to restore it. Today, the fort is a museum, teaching and research center and tourist attraction. The reconstructed King’s gardens were opened to the public in 1995.

Fort Ticonderoga

5. Fort Delaware -Delaware

Located on Pea Patch Island, Fort Delaware is a harbor defense facility. The site was first identified as a strategic defense point by the French in 1794. During the War of 1812, efforts were made to fortify the island, but construction of a fort did not begin until 1817. A major fire in 1833 caused the U.S. Army to start over again. Finally, between 1848 and 1860, the present-day fort was erected. During the Civil War, the fort served as a prison for captured Confederate soldiers. The fort was modernized during the 1890s. During the World Wars, it was garrisoned, but did not see battle. Today, the fort is a popular tourist attraction as a living history museum. In June of each year, the fort hosts an “Escape from Fort Delaware,” a triathlon event in which participants retrace the steps of 52 Civil War POW escapees.

"Fort delaware aerial photograph 2011" by Missy Lee - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.
Fort delaware aerial photograph 2011” by Missy LeeOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons.

4. Fort Halifax -Maine

Not much is left of the original palisaded star fort that was built in 1754 at Winslow, Maine: only a single blockhouse survives. Nonetheless, that blockhouse is the oldest surviving example in the U.S. today. The fort was 1 of the first 3 major forts built by the British along northeastern waterways, in an effort to limit Native access to the ocean. The fort was raided frequently until 1766, when it was abandoned and sold into private hands. During the American Revolution, it hosted troops on their way to Quebec. After this, the fort was largely dismantled. Tourists in the 19th century damaged the blockhouse by carving chunks of wood from it as souvenirs. Nonetheless, the blockhouse still survives and, in 2011, the Town of Winslow announced plans to develop the area around it with interpretive displays, trails and reconstructed portions of the fort.

Photo by: Maine Trail Finder
Photo by: Maine Trail Finder

3. Fort Independence -Massachusetts

Fort Independence has the distinction of being the oldest continuously fortified site of English origin in the U.S. Located on Castle Island in Boston Harbor, the first fort went up in 1634. It was replaced in 1701 with a structure known as Castle William. It was abandoned by the British during the American Revolution, and then rebuilt. The existing structure, a granite star fort, was constructed between 1833 and 1851. The fort was garrisoned and served as an arms depot during most of the major conflicts the U.S. has been involved in, although the federal government ceded the island to the city of Boston in the 1890s. In the 1960s, the federal government permanently deeded the island to Massachusetts, and today, the site is a state park. Occasional ceremonial salutes are still fired from the fort.

Fort Independence Massachusetts

2. The Alamo -Texas

Possibly one of the most famous battles in U.S. history occurred not at a fort, but at what was originally a Roman Catholic mission known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. In 1793, the mission was secularized, then abandoned. In 1803, it was converted into a garrisoned fortress, during which time it acquired the name “Alamo.” In 1835, the Mexican army surrendered the fort during the Texas Revolution. A small number of Texian soldiers were garrisoned at the fort until the infamous Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, during which they were all killed. When the Mexican army retreated several months later, they destroyed much of the fort. In 1892, conservation efforts began. After many squabbles and disagreements, portions of what had been the chapel were finally restored. Today, the Alamo is a museum that receives millions of visitors each year.

The Alamo

1. Fort McHenry -Maryland

This coastal fort was originally constructed in 1798. During the War of 1812, British warships bombarded the fort in an attempt to gain access to Baltimore Harbor. The shelling went on until the British depleted their ammunition early the next morning. The small flag flown during the assault was replaced by an oversized flag to signal American victory; Francis Scott Key, a lawyer on a nearby truce ship, was moved to write a poem entitled “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” later renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner” and set to music as the American national anthem. The fort was active during subsequent major conflicts, including both World Wars, and was made a national park in 1925. The fort serves as a museum and thousands visit each year to see “the birthplace of the star-spangled banner.”

Fort McHenry

12 Over the Top Stadium Foods to Try This Year

If you are into over the top stadium foods, and not afraid to eat thousands of calories, this is the year to indulge in some crazy foods. From burgers that come complete with half pounds of cheese, nine patties and funnel cakes instead of buns to dessert dogs to vanilla bean apple-pie bacon milkshakes to chicken and waffles that require no cutlery; these over the top stadium foods will either have you begging for more or groaning in stomach pain.

12. Big Mother Funnel Burger – Appleton, Wisconsin

Executive chef Tim Hansen created this monster concoction that debuted at minor league’s Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Stadium. This funnel cake bacon cheeseburger will cost you $20 and contains a whopping 3,500 calories. It consists of 2 funnel cakes dusted with powdered sugar, a 1-lb burger, half a pound of cheese, eight slices of bacon and some lettuce, just to make sure you got your veggies in. We can’t promise that this heart-stopping creation won’t give you a stomach ache but the combination of sweet and beef is well worth it.

Photo by: Timothy Michael Hanson via Twitter
Photo by: Timothy Michael Hanson via Twitter

11. Sweenie Donut Dog – Wilmington, Delaware

This sandwich contains a lot of ingredients that don’t seemingly go together, raspberry jam, bacon, tubular meat and a Krispy Kreme donut. It debuted this year as the Wilmington Blue Rocks stadium and they even let fans choose the name of the dog. The chosen name, is a shout-out to former Blue Rocks player Mike Sweeney, who went on to play for the Kansas City Royals, Seattle Mariners, and the Phillies. This donut dog has a bun made out of a sticky Krispy Kreme donut, with a hot dog in the middle, topped with crumbled bacon and raspberry jam.

Photo by: Our Source University and Information
Photo by: Our Source University and Information

10. Tailgate Stack – Kansas City, Missouri

This sandwich pays tribute to Kansas City’s famous tailgate traditions. The Tailgate Stack features burnt ends topped with cheddar, malted beer grain syrup, bacon and fried egg, all served on a piece of deep fried bread. The Stack will put you back $13 but considering its both breakfast and lunch, we think it’s kind of a steal. Visitors can purchase the Tailgate Stack only at Gridiron Express stands located in sections 103 and 135 of Arrowhead Stadium.

Photo by: The Kansas City Star.
Photo by: The Kansas City Star.

9. Vanilla Bean-Apple Pie-Bacon Milkshake – Cleveland, Ohio

We have heard of bacon apple pie, much in thanks to Pinterest but has anyone ever thought to put it in a milkshake? Apparently Chef Michael Symon who runs the B Spot Restaurant at the Cleveland Browns Stadium thought this would be a wonderful idea. Luckily guests of the restaurant thought so too. This restaurant is actually located on the club level of the stadium so fans will have to shell out serious dough for tickets. This shake even looks delicious with crumbled bacon bits on top, a large straw to slurp through and flickers of vanilla bean throughout. Hold onto your hats Browns fans as this milkshake will knock your socks off.  We suggest making some wealthy fans to eat at this amazing restaurant and hope they pay for your milkshake too.

Photo by: Natalie / Foodspotting
Photo by: Natalie / Foodspotting

8. Chicken and Waffle Cone – Houston, Texas

If you are craving chicken and waffles and prefer to eat something on the go without any sort of cutlery, the Houston Astros have the solution for you. New to the stadium this year is the Chicken and Waffle Cone, and although waffles have been replaced with a cone, you still get that same great taste. What is consists of are pieces of fried chicken, along with mashed potatoes and topped with honey mustard, all stuffed into an easy to eat waffle cone. Although this culinary creation is loaded with calories, the team that produced this cone produced the much loved BBQ baked potato last year and we can assure you that this chicken stuffed waffle cone will be just as big of a hit, if not more.

Photo by: 365 Things to do in Houston
Photo by: 365 Things to do in Houston

7. Triple-Triple Wayback Burger – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

It contains a remarkable 2,200 calories and the place to get it is at Citizen’s Bank Park. This enormous burger consists of a whopping nine patties and nine slices of cheese, weighing in with 139 grams of fat. It also contains lettuce and tomato, in what looks like an effort to make it look the least bit healthier. Wayback Burgers are the masterminds behind this enormous burger and they can be found at Alley Grill in the stadium. We aren’t quite sure how anyone is going to wrap their mouths around this tall burger, but we cannot wait to see pictures.

Photo by: Wayback Burgers
Photo by: Wayback Burgers

6. Churro Dog – Phoenix, Arizona

Chef Michael Snoke is the man responsible for the invention of this dessert Churro Dog that is now offered at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It will set you back about $8.50 and consuming it means consuming over 1100 calories but fans are insisting that it is well worth it. Essentially this dog is a sundae that is designed to look like a hot dog, the churro replaces the dog, A chocolate-glazed Long John doughnut cut in half makes up the bun and instead of the typical hot dog toppings, you get three scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt, a generous serving of whipped cream, and significant drizzles of chocolate and caramel sauces. Every churro dog is made fresh to order and we suggest eating it rather quickly as once it starts to get soggy, things go downhill. There are only two designated churro dog spots in the stadium so prepare to wait with everyone else dying to try this over the top dessert.

Photo by: Jennifer Stewart/Arizona Diamondbacks via ESPN
Photo by: Jennifer Stewart/Arizona Diamondbacks via ESPN

5. Fried Nachos on a Stick – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee truly outdid themselves this year in terms of offering over the top food at their stadiums and fried nachos on a stick are no exception. Appropriately named “Inside the Park” nachos, they can be found at Miller Park, home of the Brewers. Each nacho is stuffed with taco meat, rolled in crushed Doritos, deep fried to a golden crisp and topped with cheese and sour cream. We aren’t sure what kinds of Doritos were used in the making of the deep friend nachos but we can assure you, they picked the right flavor. As an added bonus, this kind of nacho is far less messy than the regular kind and you can keep the stick, as a souvenir, or proof that this food really does exist. Our only question is why didn’t someone come up with this idea earlier?

Photo by: Delaware North Sportservice / Orbitz
Photo by: Delaware North Sportservice / Orbitz

4. Bacon and Sriracha Deviled Eggs – Detroit, Michigan

Detroit has really outdone themselves on this twist of “bacon and eggs” and fans from all over rushed the stadium to try them. Essentially what the culinary team has come up with is a thick slab of flat-top grilled bacon on the bottom with three equally delicious deviled eggs carefully placed on top. These aren’t your typical deviled eggs though. They are made with sriracha and feature fried jalapenos on top. Slightly hard to eat, you may want to make sure you have plenty of napkins on hand for this dish. Deviled eggs lovers will find this concoction at the portable cart at Section 125 and at Michigan Craft Beer, because who doesn’t need a beer to go with their eggs?

Photo by: Go Go Go Gourmet
Photo by: Go Go Go Gourmet

3. Pulled Pork Parfait – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This stadium food actually has its own Twitter account and although it looks completely unappetizing, fans of the Brewers actually love it. The parfait looks like a typical dessert complete with ice cream but in fact is far from it. Made up of pulled pork, gravy and mashed potatoes; this parfait is served in a parfait cup with a dash of beans on top. It seems as this dish is very American so you may be surprised to learn that it originally made its debut in Canada. Hank Daddy’s BBQ, based in Maple, Ontario, bills itself as the “Original Home of the Pulled Pork Parfait” and debuted the dish back in 2010. Since then companies all over have been replicating it and we see a long strong future ahead of this over the top, weird but delicious parfait.

Photo by: Delaware North Companies / NY Daily News
Photo by: Delaware North Companies / NY Daily News

2. Fried S’mOreo – Dallas, Texas

Texas Rangers fans had something to celebrate when this new dessert dish was introduced to their stadium this year. The Fried S’mOreo looks absolutely delicious, tastes absolutely delicious and we cannot promise it won’t give you a heart attack. So what is it exactly? First off two Oreos are battered and deep fried. A marshmallow is than covered in graham cracker crust and also deep friend. It is placed between the Oreos on a skewer and then the whole shebang is drizzled with an incredible chocolate sauce. In case that wasn’t enough, a side of chocolate is served with it for extra dipping opportunities. At $8 a serving, this heart attack on a skewer isn’t cheap but may just be worth it for the taste.

Photo by: Delaware North / ESPN
Photo by: Delaware North / ESPN

1. Breaded Chicken Waffle Sandwich – St. Louis, Missouri

It was the hottest new food item to hit the stadium in St. Louis this year and the breaded chicken waffle sandwich came out with a bang. The culinary team at the stadium worked long and hard to create this unique dish. Essentially the sandwich consists of a breaded chicken breast that is stuck between two waffles and loaded with maple bacon gravy. The waffles are cooked to order, making them fresh and fluffy while the maple bacon gravy pulls the dish together. This sandwich is served with queso tater tots topped with sour cream and fresh herbs.

Photo by: Susannah Lohr / St. Louis Public Radio
Photo by: Susannah Lohr / St. Louis Public Radio

The 10 Best Brewery Tours in the U.S.

In 2014, the number of craft breweries in the United States topped 3,000. In most cities throughout the country, and in quite a few small towns, it’s pretty easy to find a bar featuring a wide selection of craft beers. If you go straight to the source, you’ll often be well rewarded. From art galleries to souvenir glasses, from obscure facts to samples of rare brews, touring the country’s breweries is both fun and – dare we say it – educational. So many breweries provide fantastic tours that it was difficult to narrow it down to the 10 best, but we managed cook up a list.

10. Boulevard Brewing Company– Kansas City, Missouri

Boulevard began with the goal of providing fantastic beer to the Kansas City area, but it just keeps growing, and its beers are now distributed in 25 states. But that doesn’t mean the brewery has lost its personal touch. Each of the staff that conducts the free 40-minute tour is warm and knowledgeable, and ready to talk you through the different tasting options available at the end. For those ready to dive deeper, Boulevard offers two specialized tours. For $20, the Unfiltered tour offers the chance to see areas off-limits on the general tours and taste limited offerings, while the Smokestack offers a guided tasting session with food pairings.

Photo by: Tech Cocktail via Flickr
Photo by: Tech Cocktail via Flickr

9. Brooklyn Brewery– Brooklyn, New York

Another brewery that builds upon its basic tour with offerings for the true beer geek…er, aficionado. The free tour is short and to the point, ending in the tasting room where you can get five tastes of beers you’re unlikely to find away from the brewery for only $20. The Small Batch Tour, which is limited to 30 people, challenges participants by asserting Brooklyn’s expert guides “can answer just about any beer or Brooklyn Brewery question you can think of.” For $12, you get the tour, a souvenir glass, and four tastings to pour into that glass while the expert outlines exactly what you’re drinking.

Photo by: Jeff Egnaczyk via Flickr
Photo by: Jeff Egnaczyk via Flickr

8. Dogfish Head Brewery– Milton, Delaware

Dogfish Head is one of the more infamous craft breweries in the United States, having been the subject of the Discovery Channel’s Brew Masters and featured in the documentary Beer Wars. Beer lovers know Dogfish is an experimental brewery, loving to combine different spices and fruits for distinctive tastes. The tour reflects the unique vibe of the brewery, taking in the treehouse outside, showing off the state-of-the-art bottling facilities, and inviting guests to play games on the lawn while waiting for their tour to start. After come the samples of the brewery’s standard offerings, while the brewpub in Rehoboth serves the difficult to find beers.

Photo by: fabulousfabs via Flickr
Photo by: fabulousfabs via Flickr

7. Samuel Adams– Boston, Massachusetts

This is the brewery to visit if you want a little history before you get down to the serious business of drinking. The brewery named itself after Samuel Adams, a founding father rumored to be a brewer himself, and the tour includes plenty of tidbits related to both the man and the area. Of course, you also learn plenty about the brewing process on the hour-long tour, and sample a few of the Samuel Adams beers along the way. There’s also a special early tour, called the Morning Mash In, that gives participants the opportunity to taste some of the brewery’s specialty beers.

Photo by: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via Flickr
Photo by: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via Flickr

6. Magic Hat Brewing Company– South Burlington, Vermont

Anyone after a distinctive brewery tour must make sure to swing by South Burlington, where Magic Hat entices visitors into its “Artifactory” first with its displays from local artist, then with tantalizing promises of a mysterious and strange ambiance. The brewery’s secrets must be kept, of course, but think of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory crossed with a trippy circus. Guests have the option to take a guided tour or simply walk through the facility themselves  – either way it’s free, and it comes with four samples of Magic Hat’s characteristic brews.

beer tasting

5. Stone Brewing Company– Escondido, California

If you’ve never tried a beer from Stone Brewing, by the end of this tour you’ll be converted. It’s practically a guarantee: those leading the tours aren’t called guides but rather “indoctrination specialists,” and are known as some of the best in the business. The tour itself lasts about 45 minutes, after which the indoctrination specialist guides participants through a tasting of four of the brewery’s offerings, including one special release. The cost is $3, with $1 from each ticket donated to a local charity. Be sure to check out the beautiful gardens, and do your best to eat at Stone’s bistro after.

Photo by: Stone Brewing Co.
Photo by: Stone Brewing Co.

4. Brewery Ommegang– Cooperstown, New York

Craving a little taste of Europe without leaving the U.S.? Ommegang specializes in Belgian-style brews and provides an idyllic farmhouse setting to go along with them. The brewery is open seven days a week, offering free 30 minute guided tours from entertaining guides. Five dollars buys a sampler of six beers after the tour, along with a souvenir tasting glass. Each summer, the brewery hosts a concert series on its grounds, but the big event of the season is Belgium Comes to Cooperstown, where guests can sample Belgian-style beers offered by over 100 brewers from around the world.

Photo by: Steven Guzzardi via Flickr
Photo by: Steven Guzzardi via Flickr

3. New Belgium Brewing– Fort Collins, Colorado

If you’re headed to Fort Collins, book your New Belgium tour far ahead of time. In busy periods, this popular brewery can fill up weeks in advance. In addition to its delicious, Belgian-inspired beers, New Belgium is known for its progressive views and commitment to sustainability. The company is entirely owned by its employees, and from the 90 minute tour and sampling, it’s obvious they’re enthusiastic about their jobs. New Belgium also brings its enthusiasm to other cities with its Tour de Fat, a bicycling carnival both celebrating beer and enticing others to trade their car keys for bike wheels.

Photo by: Betsy Weber via Flickr
Photo by: Betsy Weber via Flickr

2. Yuengling– Pottsville, Pennsylvania

For the biggest beer nerds, Yuengling might not even register. The brewery doesn’t dabble in experimental flavors or pack as many hops as possible into its ales. But stopping by Pottsville should be a must for anyone interested in the history of beer. Founded in 1829, Yuengling is the oldest brewery in the United States, and the guides fill the 75-minute tours with plenty of facts about the company’s history and the effects of Prohibition. The tour concludes with a trip down to the fermentation caves, where beer was stored before refrigeration, followed by offering up free samples from the current taps.

Photo by: JasonParis via Flickr
Photo by: JasonParis via Flickr

1. Sierra Nevada– Chico, California

The country’s oldest craft brewery wants you to get up close and personal with its beers  – provided that’s what you want, of course. For those who just want to poke their nose around the facilities, a pamphlet is available to help you along a self-guided tour. The free 90-minute tour has participants getting their hands dirty. Literally, as you rub your hands over the hops. The Sustainability Tour takes guests throughout the grounds, finishing with a tasting in a beautiful garden. Finally, the $30 Beer Geek tour provides three fantastic hours to beer nerds, outlining the history of craft brewing while allowing the small group to taste brews right from the tanks.

Photo by: michaelsmithchico via Flickr
Photo by: michaelsmithchico via Flickr

The 12 Best Summer Music Festivals in America

Nothing says summer like gathering up your closest friends and hitting one of the many epic music festivals that take over this country. Known for hosting some of the best festivals in the world, from early spring until late summer, fans can choose to bring out their inner hippie or dance the night away in an all-night fantasy forest. From interactive festivals that feature more than just amazing musicians, to festivals that focus on sustainability and nature; here are the best 12 summer music festivals in America.

12. Outside Lands, California

This festival normally held in August started back in 2008 and has been gaining momentum and popularity ever since. Although the epic music is at the forefront of this festival, the array of culinary experiences caters to more than just music lovers. Past headliners have included Stevie Wonder, Radiohead and Willie Nelson. One thing festival goers can count on is the unexpected. Beerlands, Winelands, Chocolands and the Cheeselands are all very real and offer unique and local food and drink, along with the other plus 80 vendors. What other music festival in the world is there that one can dine on oysters and lamb? Great music, great local food and drink and a festival wide arts show that takes place throughout this weekend, coupled with an amazing line-up of musicians makes this one of the best music festivals in all of America.

Photo by: Outside Lands Music Festival
Photo by: Outside Lands Music Festival

11.  Electric Daisy Carnival, Nevada

It has been deemed the largest electronic music festival outside of Europe and with nearly a million people attending; it is easy to see why this festival makes the list. It takes place in late June at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway which is turned into an adult’s amusement park complete with interactive art installations and a huge array of performers. This energetic party rages from dusk until dawn and when the clock strikes midnight the party really starts. Performers are world renowned and couple with top-notch production standards including mind-warping light displays and pyrotechnics. This is an adults-only festival and you won’t find any camping or sleeping in cars here. Festival goers are encouraged to dress up to the extreme and will be surrounded by dancers, stilt-walkers, clowns and other unique performers. If you are a fan of electronic music; this is one festival you won’t want to miss out on.

Photo by: Electric Daisy Carnival
Photo by: Electric Daisy Carnival

10. What the Festival, Oregon

This is one of the newest festivals on this list but it is quickly becoming the most popular interactive music and art festival in the state of Oregon. The festival takes place on a ranch, semi open fields and partly wooded areas. Everyone camps at this three day festival with most choosing to haul their camping gear into the woods. A garbage bag is provided upon arrival and this festival strives to encourage sustainability and ‘leave no trace’ camping. Festival goers here can expect a large wading pool perfect for splashing around, Hookah lounges, larger-than-life interactive art and a non-stop array of electronic music. Although this festival can hold up to 5,000 people, organizers like to keep the festival smaller, choosing to go with a more boutique feel. Workshops, lectures, yoga and even a comedy stage turn this electronic music festival into something pretty special.

Music Festival

9. Bumbershoot, Washington

There is no better way to end off your summer than heading to Seattle Washington for this three-day festival that not only features world-class musicians but also comedians, theater, and literature. This festival is well-loved across all borders and has become one of the biggest contemporary festivals in North America. What makes this festival even more unique is its focus on family and kids. Starting with free admission for kids six years of age and under followed by a kid’s only festival called Youngershoot that happens within the confines of the festival; it is truly all inclusive. Main stage acts have included BASSNECTAR, Tegan and Sara and Ellie Goulding. Along with those more popular acts come intimate tiny concerts for true fans. For 45 years this music and cultural festival has been evolving and growing, promising to continue as one of the most sought after festivals in America.

Photo by: Bumbershoot
Photo by: Bumbershoot

8. Lollapalooza, Illinois

It is a festival with a lot of history, change and promises two days of music from famous artists to new and emerging bands and musicians. Back in its early days Lollapalooza was compared to Woodstock for its counter-culture vibe with activities such as shaving your head, smashing a TV and getting a tattoo. It has evolved over the years into a festival where kids are welcome and celebrated, Chicago’s best food is put on display and remains true to its dedication to sustainability and supporting young and emerging artists. What it hasn’t lost is its true dedication to amazing musicians and giving fans the opportunity to see them in action. Bands such as Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Pearl Jam and more have graced the stages at Lollapalooza. Eight stages, an art market, plenty of food and drink, all set the stage for this epic festival in Chicago.

Photo by: Lollapalooza
Photo by: Lollapalooza

7. Firefly Music Festival, Delaware

Firefly broke into the music festival scene in 2012, with high ambitions to be the biggest music festival on the East Coast. Musical acts have included the Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney, Snoop Dogg, The Killers and more over the seven different stages. The festival is open to music fans of all ages and encourages participants to camp on the grounds offering numerous different options such as glamping, carefree camping and bring your own tent. One of the most unique options at this festival is The Thicket; an exclusive party experience hidden in the forest where participants pop on a pair of headphones and lose themselves in beats spun from the hottest DJ’s. Other popular attractions at this festival include a free arcade, the hammock hangout and The Pathway; a forest clearing that boasts unbelievable lighting displays after sunset.

Photo by: Firefly Music Festival
Photo by: Firefly Music Festival

6. Summerfest, Wisconsin

It is the longest running festival to make this list and also one of the most inexpensive at only $19 a day. It also happens to be the biggest, featuring 11 stages, over 800 acts and nearly a million festival goers. The array of musical talent that hits the stages here at Summerfest is unlike any other festival and has seen the likes of Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, Keith Urban, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Kings of Leon and more. Festival goers will have free admission to all of the shows with their one time admission ticket (with the exception of headlining acts) making this one affordable music festival! Besides trying to take in the amazing music, there are plenty of other activities here to keep any age group happy. Mini-golf, parades, zip-lining, playing in a splash pool, experimenting with instruments, climbing a rock wall and eating an array of food will certainly keep you occupied all day long.

Fun Festival

5. Coachella, California

Although this festival technically takes place in the spring, it is just far too large and popular to leave off of this list. Described as a musical playground for die-hard music fans, the desert of Southern California is transformed into a harmony of art, fun and music under the shining sun. This festival was started in 1999 and took a few years before becoming successful. Now Coachella is a two weekend long event featuring the likes of AC DC, Drake and many others. Think elaborate costumes, misting stations, WiFi, food booths, free water dispensers and one epic campground. Gigantic art installations are located throughout the grounds; many borrowed from the Burning Man Festival and create a magical landscape. This festival is always a sell-out so make sure to get your tickets early!

Photo by: Coachella
Photo by: Coachella

4. TomorrowWorld, Georgia

Hailing from Belgium, the mother festival of TomorrowWorld came to the forests of Chattahoochee Hills in 2013 and is quickly becoming America’s largest 21 and over festival. This electronic music festival features over 250 DJs across the three-day festival, in addition to dramatic stage designs, beautiful scenery, and a massive onsite camping community. The camping community is called ‘Dreamville’ and offers a festival camping experience unlike any other in America. Campers can expect a marketplace with multiple shops, food vendors, and experiences, several community centers and many other activities. Besides making extreme musical explorations and watching stages come to life, participants will have the opportunity to do yoga, take in a variety of workshops or play a game of Twister. Buy your tickets early, pack your camping gear and cooler full of food and get ready to experience a unique electronic music festival in the magical forests of the Chattahoochee Hills.

Photo by: TomorrowWorld
Photo by: TomorrowWorld

3. High Sierra Music Festival, California

Nature and good music take the center stage at the High Sierra Music Festival which takes place in the lightly populated wildlands of Northern California. This all inclusive, family friendly, nature loving, immersion into peace, happiness and never-ending music that reaches your soul is one of the most thoughtful and peaceful music festivals in America. The music here ranges from bluegrass to funk to reggae to jazz to electronic, and even throws in things like ‘newgrass’ and ‘country punk’. Along with the famous musicians that grace the stages, festival goers will find workshops, parades, games of kickball and even a magic foam tub. This festival has an emphasis on everything natural and organic and produces some of the most high quality festival food out there, along with a great selection of craft beers and wines. Prepare to release your inner hippie and transform yourself at this amazing music festival.

Summer Music Fest

2. Electric Forest, Michigan

This surreal electronic music festival brings Alice in Wonderland to life with its four day woodland dance fantasy vibe in a mystical location with an unbelievable lineup. Festival goers here can expect world-famous DJs, electronic acts, and jam bands; all located throughout an immersive, creative setting. The Sherwood Forest is the brains of this festival, offering a chill area throughout the day complete with art and hammocks. It is during the night hours though that this forest is transformed, into a sweaty all-night dance party complete with surprise performances, interactive art displays and extravagant lights. Camping is the choice for most of the festival goers here and the on-site lake provides the perfect place to cool off during the day. This is also one of the only electronic music festivals where kids are allowed. An experience unlike any other awaits fans at Electric Forest in Michigan.

Photo by: Electric Forest

1. Bonnaroo, Tennessee

This festival began with its focus on jam bands and folk rock and although has diversified greatly over the years, stays true to its roots and creates an unforgettable four day festival that is held in a 700-acre farm. It is attended by over 80,000 people who flock to this intimate venue to see artists such as The Black Keys, Pearl Jam, Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon, The Black Crowes and more. This festival is consistently sold out every year and despite the dust, heat and crowds that accompany it; it remains one of the best festivals in America, year after year. Besides music, festival goers will love the mini film festival in the cinema, the outstanding beer garden, the silent disco and the amazing southern grub. A festival that promises to be a laid-back, once in a lifetime opportunity is what Bonnaroo is truly about.

Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com
Christian Bertrand / Shutterstock.com